Madame Chandelier's Night at the Opera

If the encore of a show entails audience members chucking white tennis socks at you, would you consider it a success? You might, if the tennis socks were props for an avalanche so that yet another opera diva could die a tragic death before your eyes. Welcome to the crazy world of Madame Chandelier.

Madame Chandelier commanded the stage like a true diva.

Divas die on stage night after night because of jealous husbands, tuberculosis, suicide and tragic accidents. Madame Chandelier’s house party is where they can let their hair (or wig) down after a hard day’s night at the opera. You can spot the whole A-list there: Brunnhilde, Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Pamina and of course, The Queen of the Night.

As in any decent house party, there are party games like opera or not on kazoo, guess an opera death scene and truth or dare resulting in gummy bears being thrown into Madame Chandelier’s open mouth during the high notes of an aria. On top of this there was an endless delivery of opera fun facts and puns, as the inexhaustible Madame Chandelier worked through her suitcase of wigs, all while flawlessly singing snippets of arias and accompanying herself on the accordion. At this party, you really need a stiff drink to keep up with the host.

This could have gone horribly wrong if it weren’t for Madame Chandelier’s magnificent operatic voice. Underneath her many wigs you find Canadian-British opera singer and comedian Delea Shand. After training and performing as a classical singer for over a decade, she now lives in London and spends her time in stand-up clubs educating and entertaining people with all things opera. Did you know that in the 80s NASA sent the Queen of the Night aria into space for aliens to listen to?

Crucial to operatic expression, Madame Chandelier embodies the characters she portrays, bringing them to life through her physicality, facial expressions and gestures. Her well-developed vocal range allows for versatility in interpreting different roles and genres within the opera repertoire. Throughout the performance, the range, control, and expressiveness of her voice is nothing short of phenomenal. In addition to her vocal brilliance, Madame Chandelier’s ability to connect with the audience is spot on.

Madame Chandelier commands the stage like a true diva, effortlessly switching between larger-than-life opera personas and their humorous alter egos. The comedic elements are cleverly crafted, ensuring that both opera aficionados and those less familiar with the genre are able to appreciate the humour. The witty monologues, amusing situations, and well-timed physical comedy has everyone erupting in laughter throughout the show.

Opera is usually aimed at people who choose Waterstones over Wetherspoons, but Madame Chandelier could be the ticket that opens up opera to new audiences. It’s good to laugh at opera. After all, most operas are ridiculous and absurd – pure fringe, if you may. Cut into easily digestible bite sizes opera can claim its rightful place, not as an elitist niche, but as entertainment at its best. So, RSVP Madame Chandelier’s invitation for an enthralling house party that will leave you with a smile on your face and opera in your heart.

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Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

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The Blurb

Madame Chandelier remembers growing up in the rural township of Valhalla-ville, and the transformational day when she found a box of old records in the attic, and fell in love with opera.

As she belts out all the classics, and becomes her favourite opera characters, Madame Chandelier wonders if, sometimes, the only way to become yourself, is by becoming someone else. And that sometimes, the rainbow bridge into Valhalla-ville, is also the way out.

The family friendly show that says, opera isn’t just for fancy people. Opera is for everyone. Even you.

"Madame Chandelier is smart, has empathy, and can sing." ★ ★ ★ ★ Guardian "Infectiously bonkers" ★ ★ ★ ★ Scotsman "A hilarious and madcap cabaret" ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Musical Theatre Review

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